COVID-19: Dis-Chem fined R1.2m for inflating prices

File: Dis-Chem says it was forced to increase prices of surgical masks because of disruption in supply.

File: Dis-Chem says it was forced to increase prices of surgical masks because of disruption in supply.

Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG - Dis-Chem has been fined R1.2-million by the Competition Tribunal for charging excessive prices for surgical face masks.

"In its order and reasons, the Tribunal has found that Dis-Chem contravened section 8(1)(a) of the Competition Act (the Act) in that it charged an excessive price for three types of surgical face masks (SFM 50, SFM 5 and Folio50) to the detriment of consumers during March 2020," read the statement from the Tribunal.

READ: COVID-19: Dis-Chem charged for inflating prices

The Tribunal said during its investigation, Dis-chem failed to show that its price increases were reasonable.

“In our view, Dis-Chem’s massive price increases of surgical masks during the complaint period, which constitute an essential component of life-saving first-line protection in a pandemic of seismic proportions, without any significant increases in costs, are utterly unreasonable and reprehensible.

"Accordingly, we find that Dis-Chem has failed to show that its price increases for SFM50 and SFM5 and Folio50 were reasonable in the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

An investigation was launched after a complaint from the Competition Commission was referred to the Tribunal in April.

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Source
eNCA